Make “Knowledge is Power” your new mantra.
We’ve all heard the old phrase “knowledge is power” repeatedly throughout our lives. From the time we were school children, teachers tried to instill this wisdom upon deaf ears. We had no idea of the scope those three words covers. Today, most marketers serve the King of Content, bowing before him Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm. Collectively praying that the foretold long-term rewards will be there in the end.
I believe that our mantra, as marketers, should be Knowledge is Power, not Content is King. Without knowledge, every time you publish your content, you really are guessing. You are hoping that your content message will hit the mark with the target audience. It minimizes employing guessing and hoping during subject selection and copy creation. With knowledge first, you know exactly what is important to your target and exactly what your message needs to be.
I can see many of you out there nodding your heads as you read this. Oops, now the little cloud appears over your collective heads. “Uh, sounds cool, but how exactly can I do this?” Relax, it isn’t as impossible as you may think it is.
Tear Down the Wall
At most organizations, there seems to be an invisible wall between sales and marketing. You hear a variety of supposed reasons why, but I am a staunch believer of the old adage “together we stand, divided we fall.” Right now, do whatever you have to tear down this wall yourself. You won’t need help from your marketing colleagues. You are going to simply lead by example.
Step one – sit and relax at your desk. Focus on who you know in the Sales group and any service people that deal with the customers from the call center, tech support, field service folks, even the finance group. Make a list of all of them. Next, we are going to reach out and touch these people in person or on the phone. What we are looking for is any information that can teach us more about the customer. We need to know:
- What problems are they having in any part of their operation
- What kind of pain points do their employees have
- What projects are they doing, allowing us to anticipate opportunities
- Any shared gossip that might clue us into hidden opportunities
Explain to the sales person that by working together you loosen up the prospect, with your new and improved message getting them thinking. The sales rep has only to gain and nothing to lose by helping you. He just tells you what he knows and shares his thoughts key industry phrases and/or creating value propositions that rock. Knowing industry jargon is huge in presenting content.
Coach your contacts on what to look for when they have an opportunity to speak with customers. When they sense a situation, often a single word, “Problems?”, can open the floodgates of frustration and they will tell you all about it. The better your team understands what you are looking for, the better job they can do to help you.
Eventually, word will get out around the company that you are doing this and folks will be coming to you. Who knows, you might even wind up as VP, Customer Intelligence if you do well enough.
I believe customer intelligence is a must have in all companies. Organizations should train customer-facing employees to think of themselves as covert operatives, collecting data at every opportunity. The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of the situation should be documented. “Holy Big Data, Batman!” Teach the art of being inquisitive without overstepping boundaries.
Anyway, try it out and let me know how it went for you. Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions, please leave them, along with your comments, below.
Famous Last Words
“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
― Joseph Fort Newton
The Hank Moody School of Creative Writing
This invisible curtain between sales and marketing has always left me with a big question mark. It doesn’t make sense, as they should be natural allies. You have the skills to help make sales a lot of extra cash. They can help themselves by teaming up with you. You do not need the rest of your department, or approval from your manager. You see these sales guys/gals all over the building. Just go up and ask if they would like some help exceeding their sales quota? You will instantly have them captivated.
The Big Kumbaya in CyberSpace
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To hear the rantings of other voices on the same subject:
Sales & Marketing – Get out of the trenches and work together by Andreas Lalangas
Why it’s essential to align your sales and marketing functions by Wheelhouse Advisors